09 October 2011

j this, j that

Sanhedrin 43a-b

There's  a section of the Gemara that was censored  and does not
 appear in standard texts of the Talmud. 

The Mishnah teaches that before the condemned man is taken to
 be killed a public announcement  
is made: So-and-so the son of
 So-and-so is to be  
taken to be killed by stoning for committing
a  particular capital crime. Anyone who has anything to say
on his behalf should come forward to speak

up for him. 

The Gemara makes a point of noting that according to the
Mishnah the public announcement is made at 
the time that the
 death penalty was to be carried out.  
This stands in apparent
 contradiction with the following 
story that appears in a baraita:

On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For 

forty days before the execution took place, a herald

went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned

because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel 

to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything on his behalf,
let him come forward.' But since nothing was brought
forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the

The Gemara concludes that Yeshu's situation was unique 

since he was connected with the government. Since the 

government was interested in his case, the Jewish court

wanted to ensure that everyone would recognize that

he was given every opportunity to defend himself.

The Gemara lists his five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer,
 Buni and Todah, 
all of whom are presented as offering biblical
that they should not be killed based on how their names

appear in Tanakh, and the Sages respond with corresponding
 passages that show that these names – 
and the people attached to them – can be destroyed. 

All of the Talmudic stories that refer to Yeshu are

 confusing and difficult to understand, particularly

 since they do not parallel stories about Jesus that 

appear in other sources. It is possible that we have 

hints here to incidents that were not preserved in other

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